RSS Feeds
The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil,    but because of the people who don't do anything about it    
Occupation magazine - Commentary

Home page  back Print  Send To friend

1938 HUMAN BEING 2011 - Bethlehem Checkpoint
Axel Becker



I didnít say a word
I didnít intervene
I was silent

sunday 13.march 2011 at about 8.30
I am walking through the checkpoint in bethlehem
with a group of germans

after the second revolving gate in the fence there is a metal detector
keys, coins,mobiles etc. have to be placed in the tray
with the rucksack and pushed through the xray

as I walk through the metal detector there is a loud bleep
I have left my belt on
and anyway the machine always bleeps when I go through
because of my artificial metal hip

I show the young Israeli soldier
stretching in her seat in the cabin behind the bulletproof glass
my red passport

I am allowed to take my belongings and continue

I wait for the rest of my group
in order to be able to help them through this part of the checkpoint

an elderly palestinian enters the small room
on crutches
which are holding him up under his armpits
he has squeezed himself through the revolving iron gate

puts keys mobile coins belt in the tray on the conveyor belt

he walks through the metal detector
it makes a loud bleep

a voice yells at him briefly
I donít understand it
the soldier indicates he should go back

there is another loud bleep
he starts looking through his pockets
nothing

he walks through again

another loud bleep

he indicates he needs his crutches

the voice yells at him again

frightened he pulls a piece of paper out of his pocket unfolds it
shows it to the young soldier through the glass

he says something
I donít know whether she understands him or not
does she speak hebrew and he only arabic

I a human stand close by see and hear
the sad helpless powerless face of the palestinian human
I throw a quick glance through the bulletproof glass
the soldier a human unmoved in her seat

does that mean go back

he goes back
another loud bleep

another human being
a palestinian has come through the metal gate

the sick palestinian human puts down his crutches
can hardly keep standing
the other one supports him

goes with him through the metal detector
again a loud bleep
again the loud commanding female voice

both of them try to explain something in front of the bulletproof glass

they have to go back
again there is a loud bleep

does the palestinian contemplate giving up

back again
but the metal gate only revolves in one direction

he tries one more time
with the help of the other man

again the loud bleep

the soldier yells at him again

there he stands in front of the bulletproof glass

where he pulls he has to his trousers down
and shows the woman his recent operation scar

he takes his crutches
in the meantime passed through the xray
and wobbles towards the next control point

?!?!?!?!?!

I saw it !
His scar was in the same place as mine!

Why did my scar not bleed with pain?
Why did I not intervene?

I have that little red passport which ensures that I, a German,
am privileged throughout the world!

Was I afraid because a soldier with a machine-gun had followed us
through the barred corridor ?
He shouted;ĒNo photos!Ē
He wanted to see the photos and videos that two of us had in our cameras.
But then all of us were waved through at the metal detector ,
although it bleeped loudly
for each of us.

Is the metal detector tuned so finely that it almost always
produces those nerve-racking sounds?

Why did I not say anything, did not intervene???

And it occurs to me that, during the burning of the synagogues,
(1938 the year of my birth) humans said nothing.
And when their neighbours, humans, Jewish humans,
were taken away, they said nothing,
- my parents ,too, maybe, said nothing.

I donít have to remain silent.
Nor do my government nor world states have to remain silent
about the daily humiliation of Palestinian humans : children,women and men
humiliated by the illegal Israeli annexation policy,
by young soldiers who have to see it through.

The Israeli women from Wachsom Watch are no longer allowed up to this point.
Modern control methods at the checkpoints make it practically impossible for them to continue their support for humiliated Palestinians .

I didnít say anything, I didnít intervene.

I canít forget about it.
What is wrong with me?
I, who can live contentedly with my artificial hip and my little red passportÖÖÖ.

Axel Becker

Links to the latest articles in this section

PLO condemns Israeli decision to end talks, UN envoy supports unity
US unwilling to give up Mideast peace process yet
A sad evening in Washington, as Palestinians celebrate unity